Fr Jean-Philippe and some lay friends created the Magdalena Association in 1998. The association is attached to the Diocese of Nanterre and to the Parish of Saint-Cécile in Boulogne-Billancourt, which is run by the Brothers. The association’s mission is to go out to meet and welcome those who live on the streets or who make their living from the street, as well as men and women caught up in prostitution. The warm welcome on offer means that these meetings naturally lead to a friendly and fraternal accompaniment.
The Magdalena Association operates on three fronts:
• Welcome visits: every weekday evening a team of volunteers set up a camping van in the Bois de Boulogne as a place to meet and welcome men and women involved in prostitution.
• Welcome Wednesdays: a team of volunteers prepares a hot evening meal every Wednesday for more than 100 people who find themselves alone.
• Welcome nights: in small groups of two or three volunteers go out into the streets of Boulogne-Billancourt to meet those most in need.
The Magdalena Association now groups together a number of Associations united under a single common charter: Magdalena District 38, District 45 and District 44. The Association is thus present in several French cities:
• Grenoble: fraternal meals modelled on the Welcome Wednesdays.
• Nantes: street groups who go out to meet with prostitutes.
• Orléans: fraternal meals modelled on Welcome Wednesdays.
The much-anticipated Magdalena House is a new project of the Magdalena Association that offers long-term accompaniment to those who have lived in prostitution. As a house of welcome it is able to offer a path out of prostitution and the possibility of rehabilitation, helping people to re-build their self-confidence and to take their place in society once again. The project is a response to, and is open to, those who personally request to take part.